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Creating Compelling Challenges

Posted by

Scott Wylie

22 January, 2019

Challenges are at the heart of HunchBuzz. Challenges are the way you guide the discussion with compelling questions to get people engaged and thinking. They can take many forms - seeking ideas, feedback, cross-collaboration, awareness raising, or encouraging employee engagement.

There is an art to creating compelling challenges that engage users and generate ideas. At one time during my career at Microsoft there was a big focus on using Precision Questioning as a tool to encourage more streamlined critical thinking and problem solving.

Perhaps this is what attracted me to HunchBuzz which is all about open collaboration and using the wisdom of the crowd to generate ideas and solve problems. Here are a few tips we've learned from helping organizations of all kinds craft their challenges:

What is a challenge?

Challenges are questions or conversation starters for your community to provide ideas and feedback on. They are typically related to organizational strategy, values, goals or big bets. Challenges can be:

  • Broad or specific topics
  • Time-limited or open-ended
  • Available to everyone or specific groups


  • “How do we promote diversity and inclusion?
  • "How do we work in a more environmentally friendly way?”
  • “What's the next amazing product idea?”

Make it interesting

People have a thousand things to do in their work days so if you want to capture their attention you need make it interesting! An overly generic challenge might not prompt a specific response, and something too detailed may not generate a lot of activity. Be a little provocative or to have some fun with the topic, e.g. instead of asking for "Ideas for policy improvements" present is as “What’s the one thing you would change if you were CEO for a day?”

Tell people about it

You could have the best, most interesting challenges in the world but no one knows about them. As with any initiative you need to let people know about it. When creating a challenge you also need to create a communication plan:

  • What is the "catchment" group for this challenge?
  • Who else needs to know about it?
  • How long will the challenge run?
  • What is the outcome you're looking for?
  • What will happen to the ideas once the challenge has run?
  • Is there a place for rewards and incentives for the creators of the successful ideas?
  • How will you communicate the results from the challenge?

How many challenges?

There's no right or wrong answer but an oversupply of challenges can dilute activity so it’s always better to focus on fewer challenges, define an end date (so there’s something to compel action), and make sure admins are triaging the ideas and actively managing them through the idea stages.

How do I know I "have it right?"

Linus Pauling said "The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away." and that approach is at the core of HunchBuzz. You want to generate as many ideas and responses as you can to uncover the gems.

The only way to craft great challenges is by experimenting to see what works, what generates the most traction and interest. There's no right or wrong thing to do but follow these simple steps and you should be on the way to a culture of successful idea generation.

For the full article see the Help Center.

Scott Wylie

Director HunchBuzz
More about Scott